Stalker spied on his ex with binoculars

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A stalker spied on his ex-partner with binoculars while she worked at Sainsburys after she ended their “intense” three-month relationship without explanation, a court heard.

Paul Griffiths also took a photo of Hannah Sumner while she was at Gala Bingo with a friend and texted it to her with the caption: “Boo.”

Pennine magistrates were told how Griffiths was said to have hidden in bushes and then confronted the victim outside Burnley FC’s Turf Moor ground.

He lurked outside her friend’s home until she arrived, as well as bombarding her with texts and phone calls. Ms Sumner was left in fear and worried about what he would do next after the harassment campaign and wanted to be left alone.

The hearing was told the defendant had been very upset about the end of the relationship and claimed he wanted to know why she had finished with him

Griffiths (51), of Hawley Street, Colne, could be facing jail after admitting stalking the victim on or between May 11th and May 14th.

The defendant, who originally denied the allegation, was bailed for a pre-sentence report on condition he does not contact Ms Sumner, does not enter Sainsburys in Colne, does not go within 100m of Duke Street, Colne, and does not approach or follow the victim.

Prosecutor Mr Philip Hall told the court Griffiths and Ms Sumner had a three-month relationship and separated two weeks before the offence.

She told police the constant text messages and phone calls meant she had to change her number and she also blocked him on Facebook and deleted mutual friends on the website so he couldn’t contact her.

On May 11th, she was at work when she saw the defendant outside with a pair of binoculars. On another occasion, she was at Gala Bingo, which she attended every week, when she received a text message with a picture of her and her friend there, with the caption “Boo.” On that day, Griffiths was issued with a verbal warning by police.

Mr Hall said Ms Sumner spotted Griffiths peering round the corner at her when she came out and later, he was outside her home in his car and she had to go in by the back door.

On May 14th, the defendant was given a harassment warning. At 9am, the victim was walking from a friend’s house to college when she heard a noise, looked back and saw her former boyfriend in some bushes.

The prosecutor told the hearing: “Her concerns are that he will turn up at work. She wants nothing more to do with him.”

Miss Janet Sime (in mitigation) said, on the day Griffiths was seen with binoculars, Ms Sumner was supposed to meet him earlier that morning and he was trying to see if she was at work.

Griffiths and Ms Sumner had had a “very intense” relationship and had spent all their time together.

The solicitor continued: “Then, suddenly, this lady has effectively ended the relationship, but without any explanation to the defendant and has left him very upset and frustrated at why the relationship has ended. He has tried to get the answer he wants from her, but has not been able to.

“He wanted to know what had gone wrong, because he cared for her very much. He stopped as soon as he realised she was being frightened by his behaviour.

“He is absolutely adamant he will not contact her again, despite the fact she has sent two text messages to him since then.”

“He certainly has got the message.”